Lucas Digne says he was eager to take responsibility for digging Everton out of a hole against Watford on Monday – but the defender insists he would have traded his tremendous set-piece goal for a three-point haul.
Everton were trailing Watford 2-1 heading into the last of six minutes of stoppage-time when visiting centre-back Christian Kabasele was penalised for handball on the edge of his own box.
Digne ushered his teammates to one side to deposit a precision dead-ball strike inside Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster’s right-hand post and rescue a point for Marco Silva’s side.
The Frenchman was at the source of a good deal of Everton’s better offensive work on the night. He sent in five crosses from open play – only four players in the Premier League’s 10 weekend matches delivered more – and created three chances, a figure surpassed by only four of his top-flight counterparts in the same period.
But Digne, whose goal extended Everton’s unbeaten Goodison Park run to a sixth game, admitted he was struggling to shake the feeling of frustration after his side failed to press home the advantage handed them by Richarlison’s 15th-minute strike.
“We are disappointed, we wanted to win the game, we were at home and the fans always push us,” said Digne, who left Barcelona to join Everton ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.
“We needed to be more decisive in our play… but we saved ourselves from defeat.
“I believed I could score and said to Richie [Richarlison] to leave me the free-kick. I am happy to score the goal but I would have preferred to win.
“We needed to take responsibility and I wanted to take responsibility for the free-kick.”
Everton have won five and drawn three of their past 10 Premier League games to sit seventh in the table.
Silva’s side pieced together four victories on the spin at Goodison before Newcastle United checked the Blues' momentum when they smuggled a point out of L4 last Wednesday.
Everton nevertheless demonstrated their mettle to respond after Rafa Benitez’s team scored first in that match.
Equally, Silva’s men summoned all their resolve to peg back Watford. Everton’s lead was overturned inside three frantic second-half minutes, the luckless Seamus Coleman turning into his own net before Abdoulaye Doucoure powered home a header from Roberto Pereyra’s cross.
Gylfi Sigurdsson had a penalty saved by Foster as Everton sought an instant riposte to midfielder Doucoure’s goal.
But after saving his side at the last, Digne is vowing the Blues will get straight on with readying themselves for the task of taking on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The meeting with Pep Guardiola’s City heralds a run of five games in 17 days, with Tottenham Hotspur due at Goodison on December 23 and Everton hosting Leicester City on New Year’s Day.
Those matches sandwich trips to Burnley on Boxing Day and Brighton & Hove Albion three days later.
“We are here to play against the best teams and we need to work and prepare in the best manner for those games,” said Digne.
“We need to be more focused and continue our work.
“Watford showed there are no easy matches in the Premier League but now we have to be focused for the next game against Manchester City.
“It will be hard and we need to prove we can win against the big teams.”
Digne had 81 touches of the ball against Watford, the second highest number of any player on the pitch behind teammate Andre Gomes (87).
He completed four clearances, won three tackles and emerged on top from six of his eight duels.
And the 25-year-old, who has started 13 Premier League matches in a row after making his full Everton debut against Huddersfield Town back in August, says he is relishing being a key man for Silva’s Blues.
“I play every day with a smile,” added Digne. “It is the best job in the world and I am so happy.”